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So . . . the Blushing Books Writers' Weekend happened. It's still wearing off, actually.
I started writing that over a week ago. I meant to blog about the weekend - LAST WEEKEND - and then rest needed to happen. And planning a baby shower. And my 5 year wedding anniversary. And trying to finish book V in the WM series.
Originally, this is how it was to begin: I'm in my sitting room drinking tea with Patty Devlin to my left, and Dinah McLeod doing edits on her next book. We've just come back from spending the weekend away at a large resort in the country where a group of 29 authors from Blushing Books congregated for a family-friendly weekend of meeting each other face to face, workshops and good long chats.
But that's old news.
The rest of this post, however, still stands correct.
Our authors were: Renee Rose, Virginia Rue, Courage Knight, Mary Wehr, Mark Sterling, Sue Lyndon, Breanna Hayse, Callista Dane, Carrie Amsel, Joannie Kaye, Kathryn Blake of Saturday Spankings, Georgia St. Claire, Saoirse Rogan, Patty Devlin, Dinah McLeod and myself (the event coordinator). My dear houseguests, Patty and Dinah, leave tomorrow, so we're soaking up the rest of our time together by playing on our laptops (okay fine, that last line is old news too. See what happens when you start a blog post and don't finish? Yes, yes, get the switch, I know. EYE ROLL EYE ROLL EYE ROLL). Moving on. Bree, Dinah, Patty and I spent alot of concentrated time together prior to and after the writing event, and I loved every minute of it. We had some good, deep conversations, writing conversations, raw conversation, chats about discipline in our marriages, and we also ate WAYYYYYYYY too many Oreos. Dinah and I also snuck back up to Bethany's house at 4:15 am and left Bree and Patty in the woodshed to go to sleep. I highly doubt they slept, because it was their first time meeting after 3 years of online friendship! This writers' weekend gave so many opportunities, and for that I'm most grateful.
So, anyway, Dinah and Patty both went home. Bree left on Tuesday this week and that wasn't easy, either. There were tears from all four of us at the varying 'departure times'. There, updated. And the update is, I miss them all terribly. There were many inside jokes and fun memories made between the us. In particular, on the drive from the writers' weekend to my house (Patty and Dinah came back to stay with me for two nights before flying onward to their home states). Okay, so picture this: Dinah McLeod, Patty Devlin and myself . . . essentially, 20-something and 30-something year old married, spanking fiction eBook writers in a small SUV without supervision, accountability, or husbands. The ride from the writers' retreat location to my house should have been 1.5 hours.
IT TOOK 4 HOURS.
WHY?! Oh, I don't know! Why NOT?
First, there was putting air in the tyres. Because my car has a computer in it and it puts messages on my dashboard when things need doing to it. Okay, not difficult. I am a very sturdy, independent (albeit submissive to my husband) kind of adult-little girl. That is not secret. Everybody knows that. If you're someone I recently met or related to me and you're finding that out - surprise. The cat's out of the bag. It wasn't that difficult to discover. Trauma does wonders for the human psyche :)
It took all 3 of us to get the bloody tyres filled with air. It wasn't my fault. The machine was on THAT side, and the rest of my tyres were on THIS side. Luckily, the air hose thingy was on a retractable thingy so all I had to do was throw it over the hood of the SUV and yank it. Patty saved the antenna. Thanks Patty. She also did the physical filling of the tyres. I held the caps. And Dinah sat in the car, until she got out to take photos. It took about 25 minutes to complete this ridiculous task.
When we got back on the road, we start giggling. We started being smart asses because there were NO husbands, nobody dominant in the car to tell us what to do. Then, we pushed boundaries by accidentally saying a bad word. That turned into me speeding. I wasn't driving recklessly, but yes, I was speeding. Tractors are slow! I may have passed someone when the line was solid yellow too. Like I said, Fords are slow. I ran one red light (NOT ON PURPOSE) and the giggling turned to tears. We might have been yelling. There was just so much going on . . . and then, there was a stop at Target. I only needed a new hair dryer, but that turned into posing for photos with hats on our head. It also turned into buying my husband a pair of nautical themed boxer shorts that I thought were 'so cute'. We then went to dinner once the overly submissive Patty and I couldn't decide on where to eat and the very sensible Dinah McLeod made the decision for us. We ate at an Asian bistro. Our waitress was adorable. It took 5 minutes for the 's' (spanking) word to very LOUDLY exit Patty Devlin's mouth. It was hilarious. After that, there was Starbucks. Here's the proof.
We walked out of Starbucks and right in on the most amusing conversation between three Asian boys and one Asian girl, who were speaking their probably native language. I'm not going to be ignorant and guess, because I have no idea what it was. It was Asian. As we walked out the front door the girl was telling off one of the boys. To the max. Patty and Dinah were walking ahead of me and as I doddled along behind them, I received two very, 'don't stare don't stare don't stare, argument in public!' looks from them both. I kept a straight face until we reached my car, which was conveniently parked right beside the amusing argument in foreign language. Dinah and Patty were getting into the car and I, thankfully, had my back to them as I was fumbling to do the code to unlock the bloody door...and I was snorting with laughter. This girl was ribbing this boy's face off - verbally - with his friends watching! We felt so bad for him. As soon as we got in the car we all burst out laughing. We also had a further 45 minutes to go, which took us yet another one and a half hours. I think we stopped at Kroger on the way home to grocery shop. Didn't we?
When we arrived back at my house, I was a giggling mess. One look from the husband was enough to be like, 'yes, a bunch of silly girls in the car. That's over now.' And then we all ate Oreos and sat up in the guest room and talked over one another repeatedly. We made husband come in and take photos of us hitting each other with pillows. He was such a good sport about it :) Love him.
Let's not forget about the traffic paddle. Patty and Dinah will attest to my 'get there quick' driving mentality and serious lack of patience for people who 1) don't use their indicator!!! 2) pull out in front of me 3) cut me off. All of those should, in my opinion, constitute the offending driver to pull over so I can smack you with my traffic paddle. Now, I am not a top or a dominant. Nor am I a switch (if you don't know what those terms are, we need to educate you). I am a submissive, so I don't deal out punishments, I only receive. However. I would make an exception for the man in the little brown 4-door car who pulled out in front of us. I threatened him with my traffic paddle.
From the backseat I hear Dinah:
What's a traffic paddle?
Me: The paddle I'm going to start using when people are stupid in traffic.
Back to the retreat:
It was FANTASTIC to meet 20+ fellow authors, all lovely ladies who I assure you are completely human, completely talented and so very kind. Just remember that when you leave reviews. They have husbands and children, friends and loved ones and lives that go on way beyond the words they write. It was a complete honour to giggle and chat, to watch the workshops unfold. Bethany herself did the Amazon Algorithm (and who the hell knows how that works. NOBODY! YAY! Not.) and Patty did a workshop on social media. We also heard from two of Blushing's own editors on, well, editing, and characterisation. There was also Plotting Boot Camp and one on covers. That was hilarious. Too many horrible covers to laugh at.
We ate, some of us drank iced tea, and we chatted. Some of the authors had been friends for years and this was their first time meeting. I'm coming up to my one year author-versary, and I'm so privileged to say that I've met nearly thirty of them already! It truly was a fun weekend in a beautiful location. Nobody had to explain what they write - we all get it. We all do the same thing. There were hugs for everyone and no drama; precisely the kind of fellowship I want in a writing community.
There will perhaps be another writers' event next Spring. In Vegas? Perhaps.
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